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Yoga

Breathing New Life Into a Yoga Journey

When I landed at IDEA over 17 years ago, I had tried yoga just a handful of times.

Roll back to 1997. We had moved from Los Angeles to San Diego, and I was working part-time, waiting for my newly minted PhD husband to get hired somewhere (please, anywhere!) as a college professor. Working just 20 hours per week, I had plenty of time to explore San Diego. I bought a gym membership at the University of California, San Diego, and spent a lot of time there, self-guided, trying all the classes and training myself based on what little I knew about movement and the body.

The ABCs of Teaching Yoga

What makes a yoga teacher skilled, effective and relatable? In reality, you could answer this in several ways, but there are some key principles that make up the foundation of a teaching practice. Let’s call them The ABCs of Teaching Yoga.

Surprisingly, the ABCs are not always taught in professional training programs, and many teachers find themselves stumbling through their classes when just starting out. The good news is you don’t have to! I’ve outlined everything you need to know here.

Hot Yoga May Provide Heat Stress Conditioning for Athletes

If you’re looking for a good cross-training technique for your more athletic clients, suggest they practice hot yoga, which may boost aerobic performance while minimizing exercise stress.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, researchers recruited 10 elite female field hockey players for observation. All athletes participated in 60-minute hot-yoga classes (30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit) over 6 consecutive days, during which they did not engage in any other exercise. Following the intervention, the athletes played in a national-team camp.

New Mindful Outdoor Leadership Program

As green exercise and the health benefits of spending time in nature gain more prominence in popular and scientific news, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is introducing a Mindful Outdoor Leadership Program in October.
The curriculum includes elements of forest bathing, Ayurveda, yoga, outdoor skills, and research related to nature’s health benefits.

Teaching Yoga at the Wall

As a yoga teacher, you guide participants through a practice that deepens their understanding of asanas (poses) and how these take shape in students’ bodies. You cue, coach, align, adjust, demonstrate and discuss, and you offer tips on breathing, anatomy, “feel” and sensation. Often, the most effective way to help participants understand a specific element is to slow down, grab a prop or two, and work a little deeper. You may have access to straps, blocks and bolsters, but you might be forgetting another perfect “prop”: the wall.

Thai Yoga Improves Flexibility

If your clients need to improve their flexibility, you may want to encourage them to try Thai yoga during their time away from training. In a review of randomized controlled trials, researchers found that consistent practice of Thai yoga improved muscular flexibility and specific joint range of motion. Thai yoga is from traditional Thai medicine and includes gentle dynamic stretching, deep breathing, meditation and self-acupressure.

Learn, Connect and Thrive at the IDEA® World Convention

Education is the foundation of the IDEA World Convention, but this fitness event offers plenty more than stellar instruction. For Jonathan Bernath, publicist-turned-personal-trainer, it’s where he discovered the “fitness family” that would guide him in his new career.

New Review Determines Weight Management Tool

Mindfulness practices such as meditation and conscious eating techniques may offer secrets to losing weight and keeping it off, say researchers from Montreal’s McGill University.
Noting some inconsistencies in prior findings, the researchers undertook a comprehensive analysis of 19 mindfulness and lifestyle modification studies that included 1,160 subjects. Here’s some of what the scientists learned from their investigation:

Question of the Month

With the American Heart Association’s recent recognition of meditation and mindfulness practices and with meditation studios appearing in Los Angeles and New York City, it’s clear that these activities are going mainstream. Are you or is your facility integrating this trend into programs? For example, are you offering yoga and meditation classes or meditation-only sessions?

Share your responses with executive editor Joy Keller at [email protected]

Cultivating a Home Yoga Practice

Do your yoga students hunger to build a home practice but struggle to stick with one? Sustaining a regular home yoga practice can be challenging even for the most loyal yoga enthusiasts. But practicing independently—as a complement to learning from a skilled teacher—offers a variety of advantages that make it well worth the effort. Find out why a home practice can benefit your students, how you can encourage them to create the space for it, and what will help them get on the mat every day.

Mindfulness, Stress and Blood-Sugar Regulation

A Penn State University study found that women with overweight or obesity had significantly lower levels of stress and fasting glucose after participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR] program. Researchers evaluated the effects of MBSR on cardiometabolic outcomes in 86 women with overweight or obesity. The 8-week MBSR program—which consists of group training in mindfulness, stress reduction, mindful movement and meditation—includes weekly 2.5-hour sessions, one 6-hour retreat and a recommendation of daily home practice.

The Science of Yoga

“Jane,” like many clients, tried yoga to reduce her stress and anxiety, but she often held her breath during triggering moments, taxing her to the point where she’d feel faint and need to lie on the floor. After taking yoga sessions with Nicole DeAvilla, RYT 500, of Kentfield, California, Jane immediately felt calmer, more grounded and more optimistic.

Are Yoga Postures Power Poses?

Next time you’re feeling down, you may want to try a yogic raised-hands pose, also known as the upward salute that is part of the sun salutation. You may recall research conducted by Amy J.C. Cuddy, PhD, MA, associate professor at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that suggested “power poses” can increase people’s sense of competence and power. Now, research suggests that open, expansive yoga postures held for 2 minutes may
increase self-esteem.

Control Your Moods, Achieve Your Goals

Anxious, fatigued, unhappy, uncertain? We’ve all been there, all known times when our emotional hot buttons take over. We swear to ourselves that this time we will overcome them and stay committed to our goal, but it doesn’t work and we react with indulgent self-gratification. “I had such a long day, and I just don’t feel like going to the gym today.” “I’ve already fallen off the wagon so I’ll just eat what I want and start again on Monday.”

Streamline Your Yoga Cuing

When you were new to teaching yoga, you had a lot to focus on. You navigated the room, demonstrated poses, gave hands-on adjustments, held space for emotions and skillfully managed time. In the early days, it may have felt like a victory just to make it through a class successfully!

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